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Patients' experiences of postoperative health related to cytoreductive surgery and hyperthermic intraoperative chemotherapy

Authors

  • Hanna Eriksson RN,

    Nurse Anaesthetist
    1. Department of Surgical Sciences, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
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  • Kristina Haglund PhD, RN,

    Senior Lecturer, Specialist Nurse in Psychiatric and Mental Health
    1. Department of Neurology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
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  • Christine Leo Swenne PhD, RN,

    Operating Room Nurse
    1. Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Uppsala University , Uppsala, Sweden
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  • Erebouni Arakelian PhD, RN

    Nurse Anaesthetist, Corresponding author
    1. Department of Surgical Sciences, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
    • Correspondence: Erebouni Arakelian, Nurse Anaesthetist, Department of Surgical Sciences, Uppsala University, Akademiska sjukhuset, ing 70 1 tr, 751 85, Uppsala, Sweden. Telephone: +46 70 77 33 11 9.

      E-mail: erebouni.arakelian@surgsci.uu.se

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Abstract

Aims and objectives

To study patients' descriptions of their health after cytoreductive surgery (CRS) before discharge.

Background

Cytoreductive surgery with hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy (HIPEC) affects the patient's recovery. The hospital stay is long, and it is important to study how patients experience their health postoperatively.

Design

Qualitative descriptive design.

Methods

Between January–May 2012, individual interviews were conducted with 20 patients in a university hospital in central Sweden using a semi-structured interview guide. Data were analysed using qualitative content analysis.

Results

Three themes (a process, body and mind, and support) and nine categories emerged. The surgery was described as a turning point, followed by a period of hope and thankfulness. Nevertheless, patients had difficulty taking in their positive feelings because they were overwhelmed by their bodily ailments. Despite the patients' descriptions of being on an emotional roller coaster, thinking about death and an uncertain future, or being in a state somewhere between sleep and wakefulness, they described themselves as being in good mental health. Continuous individualised information and support from the surgeon and staff members were described as being important for the recovery process, and none of the patients asked for counselling before discharge.

Conclusion

Surgery was described as a turning point followed by an uncertain future. Despite the overwhelming nature of their bodily ailments and being on an emotional roller coaster postoperatively, patients described themselves as being in good psychological health and not needing any professional counselling. Continuous individualised information from the surgeon and staff members played an important role in the recovery process.

Relevance to clinical practice

Both staff and future patients may benefit from the patients' experiences after CRS and HIPEC described in this study. The knowledge gained from this study could be used in designing a care plan for future patients undergoing CRS and HIPEC.

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